The Wave Of The Future in Optical Technology

On April 4 of this year, Google unveiled Project Glass, a long-rumored concept that takes all the functionality of a smartphone housed in a wearable device that resembles a pair of eyeglasses. As you can expect, the response was enthusiastic as well as apprehensive, but no matter what the critical response was the consensus showed that Google’s new project was innovative (to say the least).

However, you may ask, what makes a product truly innovative? Is it the creation of a brand new idea? Or is it a new take on an old idea, as writer Malcolm Gladwell has proposed? To take that question further, with the speed tech companies like Apple, Google, and IBM are churning out new products, can a product be truly innovative anymore in the industry’s never-ending oneupmanship?
There’s no clear, definitive answer to any of these questions; however, when looking at the infographic we released last week illustrating emerging optical technology, what becomes clear is the importance of past contributions to the evolution of technology (or anything, for that matter). You could argue that without the invention of the reading stone in 1000 we wouldn’t have a product like Project Glass today. Yes, someone at some further date of time probably would have invented a similar product, but as history has proven the reading stone jump-started a trajectory of technological innovation. While each product doesn’t directly correlate to what came before it, what is truly innovative is the combination of old ideas into a new idea. Contact lenses have been around since 1888, but when brought together with a newer technology like LED the possibility of augmented reality in contact lenses becomes a reality.

Progress is a vital to evolution, but at the same time no one can confirm what the future truly holds. As the infographic proposes, within 15 years there will be blood sugar sensors for diabetics that’ll monitor cholesterol, sodium, and potassium levels that can be sent directly to a doctor through wireless data transmitter. All these separate elements exist today in some form, but innovation occurs when such separate ideas are brought together to push technology and society forward. And that’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?